Coronavirus (COVID-19): FAQs

Latest information from the College.

This page has been set up to provide updates on decisions taken by the college and information for incoming and returning students who have questions about the effect of Coronavirus (Covid-19) on College life. It will be updated on a regular basis.

Last reviewed 17 December 2020.

We are incredibly grateful for the creativity and flexibility that our staff and students have shown responding to these unprecedented and challenging times. We also give thanks for the innovative mission and ministry that so many are offering within their communities, workplaces, churches and local contexts.  

Although this season offers a range of opportunities and new possibilities for learning and formation, we are also aware that for many it is undoubtedly challenging and draining, and is placing extraordinary demands on staff and students across the College. We would ask that you be kind and compassionate to one another as faithful stewards of God’s grace.

For the 2021/22 academic year, plans will be developed in line with emerging government guidance and regulations, and informed by our learning and experience from this academic year. We have sought to adapt our teaching and delivery in response to student feedback and consultation in order to provide the best student and learning experience possible.

The below information relates to the academic year 2020/21.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the College’s plans for the 2020/21 academic year?

While we all long to be back together in person, we are mindful of our moral and ethical duty to ensure the safety not only of staff and students but also our wider communities, as well as adhering to government guidance and regulations.

In the shift to online delivery, we want to maintain the excellent quality of both our academic and formational standards in teaching and learning to ensure that students continue to flourish. This also includes student support, academic development, and learning resources. With any plans made, flexibility is also necessary, allowing the College to respond quickly to changing external and internal circumstances.

Whilst we will ensure online delivery of teaching is available throughout the term, our intention has been to set the foundations for a return to face-to-face teaching when possible and if relevant criteria are met (as published below).  Where a centre has a locally available lecturer with the relevant subject matter expertise, they may choose to trial face-to-face teaching for particular lectures during the term. This will be offered for those students who wish to attend in-person teaching.  As noted above, an online option will be available for each centre, even if in-person teaching takes place.

We are intending to communicate regarding plans for teaching delivery in Trinity (Summer) Term in early March when we hope to have an idea of the expected trajectory of national and local restrictions.

What are the timings for my delivery day/evening in Epiphany term?

In response to student feedback and in order to allow for more time in live lectures for discussion and Q&A, we are making the following changes to the timings for mid-week Epiphany Term provision:

  • Daytime input (London Monday, North West, South West & East Midlands)
    • 9.30am-10.00am: Worship
    • Undergraduate:
      • 10.00am-10.45am: Break & time to prepare for lecture
      • 10.45am-11.45am: Lecture / Part 1
      • 11.45am-12.00pm: Break
      • 12.00pm-1pm: Lecture / Part 2
    • Postgraduate (MA) – this will run as usual:
      • 10:00-11am: Module A
      • 11:00-11:30am: Break
      • 11:30am-1pm: Module B
    • 1pm-2pm: Lunch Break
    • 2-4pm: Afternoon Programme

From Epiphany Term, Thursday evening teaching will be reinstated for Chelmsford Centre students.

  • Evening input (London Tuesday & Chelmsford Thursday)
    • 7.00pm-7.30pm: Worship
    • 7.30pm-8.30pm: Lecture / Part 1
    • 8:30pm-8:40pm: Break
    • 8:40pm-9.15pm: Lecture / Part 2

Preparatory Work

Prep reading and prep work will be combined into one item of preparation. It will be expected that all students complete this before the teaching day. Full-time students will have a short time slot available before lectures to review  and prepare for the live lecture.

Will there be any on-site activity alongside online delivery?

Whilst we will ensure online delivery of teaching is available throughout Epiphany term, our intention has been to set the foundations for a return to face-to-face teaching when possible and if relevant criteria are met. Where a centre has a locally available lecturer with the relevant subject matter expertise, they may choose to trial face-to-face teaching for particular lectures during the term. This will be offered for those students who wish to attend in-person teaching.

What are the criteria for in-person gatherings?

Any on-site activity this academic year is, subject to the following requirements: 

Essential:

  • In-person gatherings adhere to government guidance
  • The site in question permits on-site activity
  • Staff and student safety is not compromised
  • Staff and students can make suitable travel arrangements and within government guidelines
  • Site staff (e.g. vergers) have the right protocols in place
  • In-person attendance is optional for students and staff during the period in which any trial meetings are held
  • The Covid-19 risk assessment is completed

Preferable:

  • Any small group is not below 5 in number for viability
  • Schools to be fully open

Please note that on-site activity may be cancelled at short notice. The College will aim to communicate with as much advance warning as possible.

Can I still gain access to the College’s libraries or borrow books?

At present students are unable to access to physical libraries, for Michaelmas term. however re-opening will be considered in light of the College’s phased return to its buildings. In order to support student learning online, all bibliographies have been updated to reflect the College’s growing digital resource provision.

What Academic Development is available online?

The Academic Development team have created an online version of the academic development programme. Pre-recorded and live Zoom academic development seminars are available both for specific cohorts as well as for general attendance. The Academic Development Tutor is also available for one-on-one tutorials anytime during the week via Zoom. The Academic Development Tutor will also conduct occasional surgeries o supplement the online pre-recorded material. 

What provision is there to meet with a College Chaplain or Counsellor?

The College Chaplains and the College Counsellor are available for students to book individual online one-on-one sessions throughout the week. All students should contact their Centre Coordinator for information on how to book a session.

What is the plan for ordinand residentials in Epiphany term?

Ordinands have received the academic teaching for the modules originally timetabled for the September, November and January Residential Weekends at the online Teaching Week (30 November - 4 December) for independent students. Understandably, the centres which ordinarily host our ordinand residentials will remain closed until April 2021 due to government restrictions and the impact on their business. As a result, our residential weekends in Epiphany Term will not be taking place in-person as we had hoped.

Alternative arrangements for online provision for all year groups for both the January and March weekends will be in place for 29 – 31 January 2021 and 5 – 7 March 2021.  Plans for the January residential will be communicated at the start of Epiphany term and details for the March residential will be communicated at the beginning of February.

What is the plan for the teaching week in Trinity term?

Teaching Week 2 will go ahead as planned from 12th –16th April 2021 for independent undergraduates and postgraduates (12th only). The format will be determined by national and local restrictions and will be communicated at the beginning of March with the plans for Trinity (Summer) Term teaching delivery.

What about the social side of College life?

All Centres have offered an online local induction for incoming students; some online ‘social’ space on mid-week teaching days or evenings as relevant; a buddy system which groups incoming students with returning students to share and build College community and culture; and online socials.

What about the worshipping life of the College?

As per usual the College will root its study of theology in the context of worship and prayer midweek, at residentials and at teaching week.

How will the College support ordinands in their placements?

All ordinands and supervisors were briefed at online Supervisor Days/Evenings in September regarding realistic expectations for time in context (not least in relation to the need for ordinands to be able to give half their time each week to academic study).

In addition to the annual placement meeting, Formation Group Tutors will be in regular contact with their students and their supervisors, and (as in the usual course of business) continue to arrange one-to-one tutorials with their students.

I’m a full-time ordinand. What will my formational programme look like?

A timetabled Leadership for Healthy Churches  programme of online input (2-4pm following the current timetable) has been provided across all centres. Contributors (whether internal or external) have been asked to provide live teaching on Zoom (or pre-recorded content if necessary) including interaction between students and speaker. Formation Groups (or, where size permits, student year groups) will then meet online to discuss, contextualise and apply the content further and to provide further regular check in points for Formation Group Tutors with their students.

The timetabled programme of input will be largely centre specific but will include some sessions delivered across multiple centres.

I’m a part-time ordinand. What will my formational programme look like?

Formation Group Tutors will schedule online sessions with their Formation Group. Additionally, part-time ordinands have access to additional recorded content which Formation Group Tutors can also make use of.

What is happening with the youth ministry programme and placements?

Youth Ministry students have joined with the student body on a Monday as usual, beginning with worship and morning teaching provision. As afternoon teaching is also accredited under Middlesex for the Theology and Youth Ministry programme, Youth Ministry specific modules and Formation Groups take place online between 2.30pm and 4pm each week. These afternoon lectures and seminars also have preparatory work to complete beforehand.

We recognise that the placement element for Youth Ministry students will have taken on a variety of new and adapted shapes during lockdown and in the ongoing transition back into face to face ministry. It is important therefore to ensure that Mondays and your other weekly study day are protected as much as possible at this time.

All Youth Ministry students and supervisors have been briefed at the online Supervisor Day in September regarding realistic expectations for time in their placement context. In addition to the usual annual placement visit, Formation Group Tutors will have have regular contact with their students and their supervisors, and (as in the usual course of business) continue to arrange one-to-one tutorials with their students.

The Lead Tutor for Youth Ministry, Alice Smith is your key contact point for any queries not covered elsewhere in this guide.

I’m a full-time undergraduate student. What will my afternoon programme look like?

A timetabled Leadership for Healthy Churches programme of online input (2-4pm following the current timetable) has been provided across all centres. Contributors (whether internal or external) have been asked to provide live teaching on Zoom (or pre-recorded content if necessary) including interaction between students and speaker. Formation Groups (or, where size permits, student year groups) will then meet online to discuss, contextualise and apply the content further and to provide further regular check in points for Formation Group Tutors with their students.

The timetabled programme of input will be largely centre specific but will include some sessions delivered across multiple centres.

What if I’m a part-time undergraduate?

Formation Groups will continue to meet online and tutors will continue to be available if you have any queries.

What if I’m a Peter Stream student?

During Epiphany term the Peter Stream will be delivered online via Zoom at the following times:

For Monday Students
  • 9:30am Worship
  • 10am Session One (Discernment, Life & Study Skills)
  • 11am Coffee Break
  • 11:30am Session Two (Theology)
For Tuesday Students
  • 6pm Session one (Discernment, Life & Study Skills)

  • 7pm Break
  • 7:15pm (optional worship)
  • 7:30pm Session Two (Theology)

If you have any questions about Peter Stream delivery in the autumn term then please contact PeterStream@stmellitus.ac.uk

What if I’m a Beginning Theology student?

Beginning Theology will have Formation Group time online as per the timetable. 

What if I’m an LLM student?

For Chelmsford LLM students, in Epiphany term the academic programme will be delivered on Thursday evenings as follows:

  • Year 1 and 2 students will meet on Thursday evenings, and the pattern for the live portion of the evening will be:
    • 7.00pm-7.30pm: Worship
    • 7.30pm-8.30pm: Lecture / Part 1
    • 8:30pm-8:40pm: Break
    • 8:40pm-9.15pm: Lecture / Part 2

 

  • Year 3 students will meet on Thursday evenings but online.

For further details, or if you have any questions about LLM delivery in Chelmsford in Michaelmas term then please contact rob.merchant@stmellitus.ac.uk.

 

For London LLM students, in Epiphany term the academic programme will be delivered as follows:

  • All students will meet on Tuesday evenings, and the pattern for the live portion of the evening will be:
    • 7.00pm-7.30pm: Worship
    • 7.30pm-8.30pm: Lecture / Part 1
    • 8:30pm-8:40pm: Break
    • 8:40pm-9.15pm: Lecture / Part 2

If you have any questions about LLM delivery in London in Epiphany Term then please contact matt.prior@stmellitus.ac.uk.

Formational work for all LLM students will continue as scheduled in the current timetable but online. Additionally, LLMs will have access to recorded content which Formation Group Tutors may make use of  in the context of Formation Group time.

What if I’m a postgraduate?

Postgraduate formation groups will continue to meet online throughout the Epiphany term. Dissertation supervision will happen as normal, with meetings held on Zoom. The Graduate Tutor will also hold weekly virtual office hours if students have queries.

My question’s not been answered. Who should I contact?

If you have another question, please contact info@stmellitus.ac.uk.